I went to Chena Hot Springs

Last week I got called in to work a flight to Fairbanks, Alaska. I wasn’t particularly excited because the flight back from Fairbanks was at 1am in the morning which meant I would land in Seattle at 6am which is peak rush-hour time. I was excited though because my friend Phil was also working on the flight and I hadn’t seen him since December of last year.

Normally when I’m in Fairbanks in the winter, I hibernate and stay in my hotel room (but honestly I do this 90% of the time). However, Phil has a friend in Fairbanks who was going to pick him up and take him to Chena Hot Springs. Phil invited me along and I willingly said yes (sorry Laura I crashed your reunion with Phil, but thanks for being gracious about it).

Chena Hot Springs is about an hour drive from Fairbanks and is a single lane road for most of the way. Renting a car in Fairbanks in the winter starts at $26.00 according to Kayak.com. I advise renting an SUV with AWD as this will make the drive easier and safer. Make sure to also pack a full water bottle as hot springs will dehydrate you. It costs $15.00/person for an entrance fee, and if you want to use their lockers you will need 2 quarters for each locker. They also provide towels for an extra $3.00.

The Hotsprings is really enjoyable and relaxing. If you want to go when it is not overly crowded, I recommend going during the day. However, the coolest thing is to go to the Hotsprings during the night when the Northern Lights are out, but this happens to also be the busiest and most crowded time. I really want to do this and will probably try and make it out there at night at some point. We arrived around 12:30pm and sat in the hot springs for about an hour and a half and it was relatively empty. There’s also an Ice Museum next to the Hot Springs that you can visit. I didn’t have time to go, but I probably will go if I get the chance.

After going to Chena Hot Springs, I got interested in how it was created so I did a little research and I found it quite fascinating. It was founded in 1905 by two gold mining brothers who were in search of a way to ease the pain of rheumatism. It officially opened in 1911 and has been opened there ever since. If you want more information about the history of the Hot Springs or about planning a trip there, check out their website here.

This was my first time going to a hot spring and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been or who wants to experience Fairbanks and the Chena Hot Springs. It’s now my goal to visit a hot spring on every continent.

Have you been to a hot spring? Any hot springs recommendations? I’m planning on going to Laird Hot Spring in 2019.

(Chena Hot Springs. iPhone X, edited with Snapseed. All Rights Reserved.)

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Vancouver Day Trip

Last Monday was my friend Chelsea’s birthday so some friends and I decided to go to Vancouver, B.C. for the day. From Seattle it’s about 2.5 hours driving time. It’s a really pretty scenic drive and we made a road trip playlist for the drive. I posted our playlist below.¬† This was Andy, Louie and Chelsea’s first time in Vancouver and Canada (Louie had a layover in Toronto, but never left the airport so that doesn’t count).

Make sure before you arrive in Canada that your cell phone has a plan to include Canadian cell service or you may be charged for it. Additionally, make sure your debit or credit card doesn’t charge you foreign transaction fees for being in Canada (ridiculous, but it’s true. WellsFargo charged me for being in Canada a few years ago and I learned my lesson).

Our first stop was Granville Island. If you’ve never been to Granville Island, plan to give yourself a few hours to explore. Parking is a bit tough, so you have to be patient, but it is free for the first three hours. Once you are parked, everything is walkable.

In Granville Island, there a building called the Public Market, outside are two seating areas where local artists will play music. This is a fun area to relax and listen to some low-key jams. Inside the Public Market is a hodgepodge of restaurant stalls, produce stalls and other goodies. There are other artisan craft and local stores that are fun to browse through. If you are trying to find a unique gift to give someone, Granville Island is a great place to go.

Our second stop was a dim sum restaurant called The Peaceful Restaurant. The restaurant is only about a mile from Granville Island. This restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, which is why I choose it. It is very reasonably priced and your typical Chinese restaurant with the plastic chairs, plastic bench and cups. It was clean and we got seats right away. We ordered:

  • Xia-Long Bao
  • Vegetable Steamed Dumplings,
  • Spicy Dumplings,
  • Pan-Fried Dumplings
  • Green Onion Flatbread

Including tip, it was $40.44 USD.

Our next stop was Bubble Tea and we went to ShareATea which is about a few blocks from the restaurant. This was place hopping and had a good selection of bubble tea. I ordered the Mango Green Tea with Lychee Jelly.

We did a drive through of Stanley Park. At this point, it was pretty dark so we couldn’t actually walk it, but it was a great see regardless.

Our two final stops where places I wanted to go and dragged them along (although they were kind enough to say they wanted to go also). I took them to a Japanese store called Daiso. It has two-stories and you can get a lot of home goods and random knick-knacks for cheap ($2-$10 CA range). It was a fun stop that we spent over an hour looking through all their goods.

The last stop before our drive home was a store called Real Canadian Superstore. This place was really fun and I equate it to a Walmart but classier and smells better. Here we picked up some food you can only get in Canada (like Aero Chocolate bar, Canadian version of Smarties and Old Dutch Chips BBQ Style).

After this we were back on the road and headed to Seattle (it was around 9pm at this point). Most of the ride back was Chelsea and I rapping to Hamilton while Lou slept and Andy was slightly bemused over our rap singing. We’ve decided we’re going to make these road trips a semi-regular thing and we’ve begun to plan our next trip.

What are some of the best day trips that you’ve been on? Let me know!

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(Taken on iPhone X, edited with VSCO)

 

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